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The Midcounties Co-operative

Devoteam helped Midcounties transform its legacy issue-tracking system and change processes for its large user community through introduction of ServiceNow and a self-service portal, while replacing the service desk with resolver groups to maximise corporate productivity and achieve a 70% improvement in SLA compliance.

The Midcounties Co-operative is a consumer co-operative owned and controlled by its members, helping them source quality goods and services at fair prices. The largest independent co-operative in the UK, Midcounties operates 547 sites across a range of businesses, including those in the food, travel, health care, funeral, child care, energy, post office, and employee flexible benefits services industries.

Main challenges

IT was losing its customers

With such a large and diverse volume of businesses, Midcounties’ IT team must support 330 different information systems. A service desk staffed by seven full-time employees was challenged to provide consistent service to their 9,000 colleagues. The service desk was overloaded with phone calls and emails, causing a backlog of hundreds of support tickets. A limited issue tracking system provided little visibility and did not distinguish between incidents and service requests, making it difficult to prioritise and resolve issues quickly. Only about half of the requests received met IT’s SLA.

“Our businesses have changed and grown over time, and it was increasingly difficult to manage IT services end to end,” says Paul Mills, head of the portfolio office at Midcounties Co-operative. “As a result, many employees stopped going through the proper IT channels. There was a lot of rogue IT. We had to give them a better option and become easier to do business with.”

Midcounties was also upgrading to a new ERP system and shifting to thin-client computing that would touch nearly every employee. But the transition was too risky to undertake with the co-operative’s overwhelmed service desk and limited change management processes. Mills adds: “To minimise the impact on our IT team and organisational productivity, we needed a better solution for service management. Our goal was to enable users to log and track requests through an easy-to-use portal rather than call the service desk.”

What did we solve?

A strong foundation for service management

Having evaluated ServiceNow, Hornbill, LANDESK, and ASSYST, Midcounties selected ServiceNow for its ease of use, flexibility, fast deployment, no infrastructure to maintain, and the impact it would have on their business.

The co-operative appointed Devoteam, a major ServiceNow partner across Europe, to deploy ServiceNow IT Service Management. Devoteam conducted a number of workshops in the areas of incident, problem and change, remote management and SLAs as well as validating the fit of the client’s processes to ServiceNow’s out-ofthe-box functionality. As leader of the work streams Devoteam was able to use best practice to minimise changes to the ServiceNow application.

“The Devoteam team was absolutely fantastic, and they helped us customise the system to fit very specific requirements for our many different lines of business,” says Mills.

“With their help, we had ServiceNow integrated with our Microsoft Active Directory and the self-service portal ready to use in just 55 days.” Midcounties showed its appreciation of Devoteam’s work by naming the ServiceNow help feature after the Devoteam consultant that created it!

Acceptance of self-service increased dramatically from 6% the week they launched the portal to 88% two months later. This meant Midcounties could phase out the service desk entirely and route tickets directly to the resolver groups for each business unit, greatly reducing resolution time. No more bottlenecks in IT created by tickets being generated for every task. The fast new personalised self-service facility has improved employee satisfaction and restored confidence in IT.

Main benefits

Maximising value and cost savings

Aaron Clayton, Deputy CIO at Midcounties, said: “We have found Devoteam’s approach, expertise and practical experience to be especially useful. Their knowledge of service management environments has saved us so much time and effort and helped us to avoid the common pitfalls of implementing a whole new service platform.”

Improved service management has seen many positive changes throughout Midcounties’ businesses:

  • Increased self-service adoption from 6% to 88% in just two months
  • 70% improvement in SLA compliance – resolving 85% of support tickets within its SLA and rising
  • Greater consistency of service to the businesses, from food supply management to higher uptime for critical online travel systems
  • Improved organisational efficiency by reducing shadow IT
  • Transformation of its legacy issue tracking system and change processes.

Following its success with IT Service Management, Midcounties is working with Devoteam to develop ServiceNow drive similar efficiencies in vendor and facilities management.

“We’ll be able to put all our contracts in one place and have better visibility into spend, expirations, and pricing changes to improve planning and decision making,” says Davinder Sandhu, vendor manager. Further interest in the shared services platform is coming from HR, finance, energy, membership and funeral services.